Analysis of the film - Master and Commander.

By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

This film shows an English naval vessel carrying out its orders to protect international waters against the attack of a privateer named the Acheron or "Phantom" which is working for the French navy. The English ship disguises its-self as a whaler and then conducts a successful surprise attack on the privateer.
This movie shows that war is a terrible thing but there are things worth fighting for. This movie also shows the importance of good leadership, staying committed to a good cause, and using innovation and creativity to overcome challenges. This film also talks about the importance of friendship and also the need for justice and mercy.
At one point in the film, the captain of the English ship, "Lucky Jack", gets hit in the neck with some shrapnel as he comes up from below deck. The sound track becomes muffled and hard to understand after he is hit. This reflects his shocked state after being injured.
When the captain tells of Lord Nelson and wants to inspire his young officers, the frame includes the flame from two candles both when it shows a close up on the captain and the young officer. The scene is showing throughout the two candles that the captain wants to kindle the fire of patriotism in the heart of this potential future captain for the future good of the English navy.
The next Master shot, showing the boat sailing the sea on the next morning, is unsteady, as though a person were holding the camera while standing on the deck of a rolling ship. This gives us the sense that someone is watching from another ship. Sure enough, the sailors notice that they are being followed the next morning by the Acheron.
It is encouraging to see the observation of international law that is followed during the conflict depicted in this movie. We hear a line that points out that if the privateers were pirates they could hang them when they catch them; as they are privateers they must only take them prisoner. This is illustrated again in the decision of "Lucky Jack" to abandon his relentless pursuit of the phantom for the benefit of his friend who must have surgery on land.
I want to share a parable I made up that shows the effort that both captains (Because even the captain of the privateer only maroons the whaler boat captain and takes the crew captive rather than killing them) demonstrate in remaining civilized even while they are at war. In the world, there was a horrible monster. All of the good people gathered together to fight against the monster. The longer the good people did battle with the monster the more they became like the monster and the stronger the dark power of the monster grew. When they saw the effect of their efforts, the good people stopped fighting and tried to show the monster kindness and compassion. The good people hoped to limit it's evil power and win the fight in this way. Unfortunately, the monster did not weaken or change its course and only killed the good people in larger numbers.
The good people, who were near despair at this time remembered God and his promises. The good people realized that they had to do the best they could to fight the monster and defend their families while at the same time avoiding the tendency to become like the monster. The good people realized that even God will not force the monster to change, and yet, God has promised, that while the monster will continue to be evil, some day, He will keep the monster away from the good people forever. To receive this blessing the good people needed to oppose the monster without becoming one. The good people realized that the challenge before them was to win the battle, while at the same time, following the laws of God and the direction of his spirit. The good people gained courage, because they remembered God's promise that if they have faith in him, that he will fight their battles for them and deliver them from the horrible monster.
Sometimes in this world people are forced to do horrible things (such as, in this film, chopping the lifeline for a struggling sailor in order to accomplish the greater good of preserving the lives of everyone on the ship.) Sometimes, however, both the rescue of the one and the success and wellbeing of all can be accomplished. This is leadership, to know the difference and have the courage to act. People want to be governed by a leader that they respect. In order to command respect you must find strength within your self, you must rise above the simple relationship of "buddy" while avoiding being a tyrant. One of the other difficult things that "Lucky Jack" must do is to flog one of the sailors who failed to salute his superior (even though his superior may not have really deserved to be saluted.)
One of the best aspects of the screen writer’s efforts is the line which "Lucky Jack" utters to his friend the surgeon as they are having a very heated argument. He tells him that the observations, measurements, and specimens that he would collect on the islands are of no immediate application. Then after he returns the doctor to the island for surgery, one of the specimens that they have gathered is a walking stick. The method which this insect uses to disguises itself sparks "Lucky Jack's" mind and he does find an immediate application which helps him to ultimately defeat the phantom ship. This is the hallmark of a great film, even after watching it half-a-dozen times you still notice really cool things about it and it just keeps getting better and better with each viewing. This movie has a very good message for every viewer; the journey toward success, in enterprises large or small, are always aided by friendship, loyalty, and attention to the things that really matter most.

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